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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  April 28, 2011 9:00am-11:00am EDT

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we have got devastation in five states. in tuskaloosa, alabama, you have 36 dead. month are than 100 dead in alabama. we have a lot more of that that we are following. kr. "cnn newsroom" will be following that all morning. it is 9:00 a.m. on the east coast, 6:00 a.m. on the west. i am carol costello. a major political development in the middle east as two rival groups join forces. hamas and fatah agree to form a unity government for the palestinian territories. that raises concerns for the united states which still lifts hamas as a terror group. sh. >> last night, prince william and his bride to be, kate middleton, took part in their final rehearsal at westminster abbey.
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enough of this devastating storms, it seems that with every hour that passes today, the news out of the south just gets worse, the death toll higher, the powerful and plentiful tornadoes left at least 194 people dead, mostly in alabama. people are still missing. hundreds are injured. homes and businesses that were standing 24 hours ago, they are just gone. at least 160 reports of tornadoes have come in. one hit near the university of alabama in tuskaloosa.
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it is just terrifying. alabama governor says some students died in the storm. the twister devastated the city's infrastructure. some people in the birmingham area can't believe they made it out alive. >> i thought i wasn't going to be living. i thought my life was over. i ran out of my bedroom. the next thing i knew, the front window blew out. i ran down to the basement. i have my life and i thank god for it. i just got to be a living testimony. >> let's check in with reynolds wolf. he is in tuskaloosa. i know you are an alabama native, reynolds, so this must be particularly sad for you. >> reporter: devastating, absolutely. lived here, let's see. i am 41 years old and i spent most of my life here. part of it, earlier in my career as a meteorologist here for one of the local stations.
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i have seen several tornado outbreaks but nothing that can compare to this. we have two oak trees, each about 50 feet, that were 50 feet high. this is what happens when they experience wind gusts tops 200 miles per hour sustained from the massive tornado that came through. believed to be an ef-4 at least. you see the devastation we have of one house and one of many structures not only across tuskaloosa but parts of the southeast. 128 de. we m debris is everywhere. when you have the strong winds and debris, these small things like these splinters of wood become a projectile, as deadly as any missile or bullet. that is one of the big reasons why you have so many deaths. in a situation like this, storms that are this strong with winds so powerful, the only safe place you can find would be underground. unfortunately, many of the people that call this area home
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don't have basements, storm cellars or a significant shelter to hide from the winds. if you were in a strong building, you can see the result. they fall apart. strong, big vehicles like these over here at this armory, at the old armory, you can see right here, there is a truck, hard to believe a five-time truck that has been pushed over on its side and a testament to how strong the winds have been. what's more, if you look at the fence line, the fence is virtually gone. the posts are there. they have been bit as the debris came across the roadway and pushed everything aside. you will notice there is a little bit of that mesh from the fence itself and the chain link that is pushed up against the back of these trucks. jonathan, i don't know if you can see it. there at the very end, you will notice there is a hum v, a vehicle designed to take and withstand battle damage that has been ripped to shreds. a devastating scene we have here. it is something that has been
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playing out all across much of the southeast for a good part of the storm season. we are not done yet. 128 dead. we expect those numbers to rise in the coming days. back to you, carol. >> i know a lot of people were scared of the fierce winds in georgia. a lot of people spent the nights in their basement. rescuers were still looking for survivors this morning. the town reported widespread damage. mississippi reporting 32 people killed in the storms. floding a big problem near oxford. authorities have had to rescue people trapped inside their homes. the storms lived up to their deadly potential. let's head over to the severe weather center and jacqui jeras. is this the worst tornado season ever? >> we don't know. certainly, one of the top, if not the to. we won't have those official numbers for a little bit yet, carol. we kind of compare everything. the worst outbreak in history, the super outbreak happened back
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in 1974. this could be very close to that in terms of the number of tornadoes. the number of fatalities we think and we hope will be less than that. this appears it will likely be the deadliest tornado outbreak since that benchmark year. we still have that threat ongoing right now. here, you can see the watch boxes in effect. the red witness, tornado watches. the yellow ones are severe thunderstorm watches. sometimes you can get isolated tornadoes. keep that in mind, even though it is a severe thunderstorm watch. we have one warning in effect right now for baltimore and carol counties. this is the area we are talking about. this does not include the city of baltimore. this is way out in the county and veneer the state line as that storm moves up to the north and to the east. we have had a couple of tornadoes possible in parts of south carolina. this line of storm remains severe. right now, they are just producing some wind damage. keep that in mind. this is encroaching in along the i-95 corridor. that's going to be the real hot spot, so to speak, for today. this is a really different
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animal that what we were dealing with yesterday. the intensity of this storm is weakening and there is not as much rotation with it. so it is not as favorable. here, you can see the slight risk area for the severe thunderstorms for today. month are than 150 reports of tornadoes yesterday. here, you can see the big concentration of them across parts of the deep south. i want to show you this radar signature here, carol, to our audience who is watching. this is from the doppler radar out of birmingham, alabama, that took a slice of this storm as it moved through tuskaloosa. i want to point out this huge, bright, radar return, this is debris. we can't see the rains unless there is something in it. the higher the concentration, the brighter the color we are going to see. this is what we call a debris ball. this thing went up about 8,000 feet. >> that's unbelievable. you mentioned bad weather in the virginia and washington, d.c. area. the government of the state of
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virginia just declared a state of emergency. i think eight people died in the state of virginia. >> it has been so widespread. it has been incredible. today, this is a very populated area. we won't see as many tornadoes. there are a lot more people in the lines of the storms today. we suggest you try and stay at home and have that safety plan in place. the lowest level of your home away from doors and windows. his national security team since taking office. as we told you yesterday, long-time washington insider, leon panetta will be nominated as the nation's next defense secretary, who will succeed robert gates retiring later today. general david petraeus is the president's choice to replace him. he would remain in command of the war efforts in afghanistan
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until september. > after dropping his birth certificate bombshell, president obama turns the controversy into comedy. a lot of republicans are not laughing today. they are lashing out at the president and how he has handled this issue. the chairman of the republican national committee gives us his take straight ahead. i have astigmatism. so my old contact lenses would sometimes move out of place and blur my vision. my eye doctor said there's great news for people with astigmatism. acuvue® oasys for astigmatism. he said it's the only lens of its kind designed to realign naturally with every blink
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after the surprise decision to release his original birth certificate, president obama stepped up to the podium to explain. he poked fun at the years' long birther con troer versecy and poked the press and he got a little angry. his mood was lighter, lighter at a fund-raiser in new york. >> my name is barack obama. i was born in hawaii. the 50th state of the united states of america. no one checked my i.d. on the way in. but just in case.
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well, donald trump breathed new life into the birther movement these last few months, it has also had plenty of conservative support. you had newt gingrich talking about the president's kenyon, anti-colonialist world view. you had sarah palin saying obama citizenship was rightfully and issue and fair game. i spoke with the chairman of the republican national committee, reince prevost. i started by asking his response to the president's release of his original birth certificate. >> i have said for a long time and we have been saying for months, this whole thing is a complete distraction to spend more time talking about it while our country is walking off a fiscal cliff. this president is more worried about birth certificates, oprah winfrey and fund-raiser at the
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waldorf astoria while the rest of us are trying to figure out how we are going to get the economy back on track, it is maddening. >> i am sure no voters would ace d disagree with you but they are going to say it is republican candidates that are pushing this and they have kept pushing it to undermine the president. >> i would disagree with you, carol. i this the media is pushing this stuff and the president is personally involved in it. >> we had main street republican candidates intim mate that barack obama was not born in the united states. i'm talking about mike huckabee. >> you invited me on to talk about the birth certificate issue again and in my mind, we have the american people that want us to talk about how to get gas prices down and how to fix our economy and how to bring jobs to america and we've got a
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president who is talking about the issue. we have him going on to oprah. we have him going to the jonas brothers golfing, doing everything except figuring out how to save medicare that is going to go bankrupt in nine years. >> let me ask you this about donald trump. he has been the loudest voice. have you ever called him and said, hey, mr. trump, cut the rhetoric, this isn't helping the country? >> he can talk about whatever he wants. it is up to the primary voters to decide. you know what, the primary voters will decide in iowa, new hampshire and south carolina and the rest of the country as to who they want to represent them on the republican ticket. it is not my job to play police officer with the candidates. it is up to the voters to play police officer and go into the voting booth and check off who they want to vote for. it is up to this president to get our economy back on track. >> even if such talk is hurting the republican party, it is not your job to call and say, hey, this might not be the way to attack the president.
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>> i'll tell you what this is about. we have a battle for freedom in this country that we need to win. when we are about to spend 42 cents on every dollar made in america in a few short years, that's an america we don't want to pass on to our kids and grandkids. medicare is going to go broke in nine years and the president is giving speeches. we need this president to lead and he is not. i would say oprah winfrey, waldorf astoria fund-raisers, jonas brothers and golfing is not the leadership and that is not the hope that the american people are praying for right now. we need to save our economy and get our economy back on track. >> i totally get what you are saying. i want to go back to donald trump. he is the loudest voice and he is doing pretty well in the polls as far as republican voters. so what he says resonates, right? his next thing is about the president releasing his college records. do you think the president should do that? >> i think this is all a big
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distraction, all of it. i have never said anything otherwise, carol. >> why not call him up and say, hey, stop it. >> because donald trump can say what he wants to say. we live in america. he has a right to say what he wants to say. the media, i would say, enjoys picking up on a few of these lines and going to town with them. look at, we are still talking about this birth certificate issue. it is old news. let's talk about the economy. let's talk about how we are going to get our country back on track. that's what the republicans are doing. that's what paul ryan is doing and speaker bane ner john boehn doing. let me read to you something that david frum said, a republican, an opinion piece, a former bush speech writer. he said in this op ed, how did this poisonous and not very subtly racist birther allegation get such a grip on our conservative movement and our republican party. he says, that's the stain that this kind of talk has left on the republican party. how do you respond to that? >> you know how much i hear
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about this issue from our grass roots, nothing. the only people that talk to me about this issue are people like you, carol, and people in the media. >> why do so many republicans believe that the president might not be born in this country, more than 40%? isn't it the duty of the republican party to say, to kind of like make people believe what is true? >> carol, i believe and i have said that the president was born in hawaii. i have never said anything other than that, as chairman of the republican national committee. now, as chairman of the republican national committee, i hope and pray that the democrats and this president get serious about getting our economy back on track, because if we don't do anything, we are going to go broke and we are going to pass on an america to our kids and grandkids that we don't want to pass on. it is time to get serious. let's move on to more serious topics, that being jobs, the debt, the deficit, and saving medicare and social security, which the republicans are the
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only ones doing right now. >> thank you so much for talking with us this morning. we appreciate it. >> you bet, carol. thank you. he was spirited, what can i say. we want to bring in our senior editor, mark preston. mark, politically, how is this all playing out do you think? >> for two people, let's just focus on president obama and donald trump. at his fund-raisers last night, president obama joked about it. he said, look, i'm barack obama, i was born in hawaii. you know, i think that this pretty much definitively puts it to rest. we will still hear some people that will question where he was born but the fact of the matter is, he was born in the united states. now, for donald trump, i thought he did okay yesterday up in new hampshire at his press conference except when he was being self-congratulatory. he talked about how proud he was of himself. that doesn't play well with primary voters. i will tell you if you just look at the editorial and the new hampshire leader today, they kind of hit the nail on the
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head. if he is serious about running for president, had this is what they said. ditch the limo, the security detail and the chopper so you can interact with voters, one-on-one. voters in these primary states, particularly new hampshire, iowa, south carolina, they want to touch you. they want to feel you. they don't want a big security detail surrounding you. but, speaking of new hampshire, cnn, and wmur have more details regarding their presidential debate in june. it is going to be on the 13th. the venue is going to be saint anslyn college. in our interview, he asked donald trump if he was going to attend the debate. he said, if i'm in, i will be there. it would be interesting to see him on a debate stage. >> many things reporting live from washington. we will have your next political update in one hour. go to our website, cnn stew accidents storm a board room and chain themselves to the
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the death toll from the tornado outbreak is up to 215 people. in arizona, dozens of
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students stormed a room and chained themselves to chairs at a board meeting of the tucson universe district. they were protesting a study that would take ethnic studies out of the curriculum and make them electives. in michigan, help arrives just in time for a dog stuck in the river clinging to a log. the pit bull mix affectionately called nimo may have been in the water for more than a day before fire fighters arrived and pulled her to safety. check this out. this colorful mosaic called a surfing madonna. it was mysteriously installed on an overpass wall in encinitas just before easter. this he call it gra fee ta tee. art lovers say it must stay. gas prices are rising. that is pushing up prices on almost every we buy. we will tell you about an oil giant celebrating huge profits and bracing for public outrage just ahead. fiona, am i crazy or is this a lot of tires?
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you could see that the tornado was sucking stuff up from the ground. i couldn't tell what it was but i could see all kind of things floating around it. then, you could see just different colors being sucked up into the tornado and you knew that it was just ripping stuff up. >> so imagine looking out of your window and narrating like that, seeing a monster like that. michael wood is a student at the university of alabama in tuskaloosa. he shot this video of this deadly twister from his apartment. michael joins us now live. welcome, michael. >> yes, ma'am, how are you doing? >> can you hear me? >> yes, ma'am. >> what floor were you on when you were shooting this tornado? i was on the fifth floor of my apartment building. >> so why weren't you running for cover. instead, you grabbed your camera. >> i was watching the news channel. they had a good stream going.
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they had the radar going at the same time. i could tell it wasn't going to come quite where i was at. so i was near a stairwell in case it did make a turn, i could dive down in the stairwell and run down to the basement real quick. >> you are a lot braver. >> fortunately for me, it stayed out. >> you are a lot braver than i would have been. tell us, as you are looking at this thing again, what were you seeing? >> just complete destruction. it was amazing and sad at the same time. like i said, i got the video shot and you could see a lot of debris. actually, i saw the storm, what looked to be touch down initially to the west and just keep moving toward the east appearing to follow 15th street. >> you could actually see it like sucking up homes and cars and things into that wind tunnel. >> i couldn't actually see specific debris like you said, like cars or homes. you could see what appeared to be plenty of shingles and
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insulation and that type of debris flying about through the air. >> we understand that 36 people are dead in tuskaloosa. we are hearing some students might have been injured. what are you hearing? >> i know there is a lot of deaths, sadly. i think the count is at 15 now, plenty of injuries admitted to the local hospital. as far as people that i know being injured, i know a few people that have lost their homes and cars. thankfully, no one that i know was injured. but just thoughts and prayers going out to the ones that were injured. >> a final question for you. have you ever seen anything like that before? has it changed you in some way? >> i would say the only thing close to this was, i'm fro coastal alabama, about 30 minutes from the beach. seeing the damage done by storms like katrina, ivan and dennis, when they moved through. the storm surge, the way it picked up cars and moved them around looked similar to the way
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the cars are tossed about here. the damage here is a lot, lot worse. >> michael wood, thank you for sharing your pictures and your story. we appreciate it and we are glad you are safe. >> yes, ma'am, thank you. this morning, the oil giant, exxonmobil, is announcing its first quarter profits. it is already bracing for public backlash. with gas prices inching toward record highs, the company just announced a jaw-dropping pike in profits. exxonmobil is trying to tamp down any expected outrage. one quote from its blog, it says, less than 3% of exxonmobil's earnings are from u.s. gasoline sales. and, the company says, quote, we earned a little more than two cents per gallon. that's not a typo. two cents but that two cents surely adds up for you and me. alison kosik is at the new york stock exchange. tell us what kind of profits we are talking about here? >> carol, i am glad you are
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sitting for this. exxon made more than $10 billion in the first three months of this year. that's 70% more than it made a year ago. it easily beats what wall street expected. you know what, it shouldn't be such a shocker. it is the world's biggest publicly traded oil company. when oil spikes, exxon stands to benefit the most. in the first quarter of last year, the first three months of last year, look at this where oil has already been. the average price for oil was at $79 a barrel. the first three months of this year, oil is averaging $95 a barrel. today, the price is sitting around $112 a barrel. analysts say, guess what, it could be another banner year for exxon. we saw the same thing happen when 2008 when oil hit a record. so did the exxon profits. >> let me ask you what's posted on exxonmobil's log site. it says it makes more than two cents per gallon on u.s. gasoline. is that true?
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>> i haven't checked the facts of that blog. i will tell you what wall street thinks about this. if you are an investor and you invest in exxon stock, this jump makes exxon an attractive investment. check out how exxon stock has done so far this year. it spiked 20%. it is one of the best dow performers. anyone who got in before the oil surge are benefiting, especially if this is sitting in your 401(k). the real story here is for most of us. it is a tough pill to swallow. remember this. oil companies, carol, they don't set the price of oil. it is traded on the open market. right now, prices are being driven up. mostly because of speculation. also, because of the weak dollar. oil is priced in dollars. so it makes it a cheap investment. there us a higher demand here in the u.s. and globally. overall, those stocks are weak in the early going. got to mention that. exxonmobil is also down a bit. carol? >> allison kosik, live at the new york stock exchange, thank
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you. president obama says such huge profits show the oil industry no longer needs the big tax breaks it gets. so he wants to eliminate some $4 billion worth of deductions. here is a quick look at a couple of them. the largest is this domestic manufacturing tax deduction. it is designed to keep factories here in the united states. companies that manufacture here can deduct 9% of their income from operations that are attributed to domestic production, eliminating that deduction would save more than $1.7 billion. the second largest savings would come from killing off the percentage depletion allowance. this deduction essentially let's oil companies treat oil in the ground as capital equipment so some of its value can be deducted. that would save $1 billion per year. >> i know. it is complicated. joining us now is steve har graves, a writer for you wrote an excellent article
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about these deductions. the government would have a lot of extra money if it killed off these deductions. how likely is that to happen? >> it is going to be pretty difficult. the democrats have been trying to go after these tax breaks since 2008. oil and gas prices were high as well. they haven't been able to do it. there is a lot of opposition to this. a lot of republicans are against it. the oil industry is obviously against it. they say that these tax breaks that they encourage domestic production and they lessen the country's reliance on imported oil and create a lot of good jobs right here in the u.s. >> something in your article that surprised me. oil companies apparently pay way more taxes than other companies. tell us about that. >> their tax rate is very high. they pay somewhere around 40%. you know, you hear a lot of companies that are able to, you know, really reduce their tax bill and pay hardly anything. that's not the case with oil
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companies. they pay -- their tax rate is about 40%. just last year, exxon made about $30 billion. they paid about $20 billion of that to various governments. so they are certainly paying a lot of money. they are also making a lot of money. >> i know. the sense of your article says, since 2000, the five big oil companies made $1 trillion. so obviously, they can afford it. i guess the question is, we live in a capitalistic society. you are supposed to make money when you have a business. how can you beat that argument? >> it is a tough one to make. the president and democrats are saying, these tax subsidies were put in price when oil prices were low, back when these companies needed an incentive to drill here. that is not the case now. oil prices are really high. these companies are probably going to drill, whether they have this tax break or not. so it is time to get rid of it and put the money into
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alternative energy or conservation. that's the argument. >> steve hargrieves, thanks so much for joining us. deadly tornadoes have left parts of alabama unrecognizable, people still missing. we will have more details coming up. building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible. i don't know, something. [ mom ] something... ♪ mexican. [ female announcer ] thinking mexican tonight? hamburger helper has five festive flavors like crunchy taco. hamburger helper. one pound. one pan. one happy family. like crunchy taco. we share.
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here is a look ahead at some of the stories we are keeping
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our eyes on later today. this morning at 11:00 eastern, the first lady hosts a take our daughters and sons to work today for the children of white house staffers. shortly after 3:00 eastern, the president is set to announce changes to his national security time. later at 5:00, tim geithner is in the motor city, detroit, talking jobs with the detroit economic club. countdown to the royal wedding, the clock ticks closer and the crowds grow larger. cnn is breaking down all the latest royal developments. that is coming your way next. ♪
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♪ the royal wedding is less than 24 hours away and nowhere is the buzz word more deafening than among the loyal subjects camped outside of westminster abbey. some have staked out their spots since tuesday. an estimated 1 million people are ex pthed to line the streets of london. this morning, we have a new image of the beaming couple. take a look at this picture. this bill grace the official wedding program at tomorrow's ceremony. 150,000 copies of the program will be sold throughout london to raise money for charity. every bride has faced the
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same worry about a rambunctious guest that threaten to steal the spotlight. to are the royal family, it may be another prince who is well-known for his mischievous ways. tom foreman explains. >> reporter: perhaps not since diana and fergie, has anyone shaken the royal tree as hard as anyone as much as prince harry. he has often been a wild-hair wonderer. >> he has been the naughty boy of the royals, seen falling of nightclubs with a string of lovely young ladies and general generally misbehaving. >> reporter: william is first in line to the throne behind their father and has always seemed respectful, well behaved. the prince has pursued a military career with the same viger he brings to hs favorite sports of polo, rugby and
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skiing. trained as a tank commander, he famously insisted on going to the front line saying there is no way i am going to sit on my -- back home while my boys are out fighting for their country. he spent more than two months on the ground calling usair strikes on the taliban before news reports of his whereabouts prompted a withdrawal for security reasons. he was not happy. >> it is a shame. angry would be the wrong word to use. i am so disappointed. i thought i could stay through to the end. >> reporter: he is now trained to fly attack helicopters. just last year hinted he may go back to war. >> i have always going back to afghan. when i am told to go, hopefully, i will be able to go. >> reporter: he has shown little inclination to retreat. >> he did dabble with drugs and chom and got himself into trouble by dressing up as a nazi. >> reporter: the nazi incident
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happened six years ago at a friend's costume birthday party. he issued a written statement, it is wa a poor choice and i apologize. >> he has never done anything illegal and he has never, ever eskewed his duties. >> reporter: to the contrary, as he has matured, he has traveled much of the world. it is widely reported that she will be his wedding guest. >> to his great credit, he has recently become rather more responsible, almost grown up you might say. >> reporter: lest anyone think the royal mischief maker has disappeared, there are rumors that the wildest post-wedding
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in what could be the worst tornado outbreak in history, alabama took the worst beating. at least 130 people now dead, hundreds hurt, people still missing, and wording like surreal and sickening and catastrophic used to describe the damage. the governor has declared a statewide state of emergency. he's mobilized hundreds of national guard to help the victims. martin savidge is in pleasant grove, a suburb of birmingham. what are you seeing? >> i'm 20 miles to the west of
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birmingham. i had a conversation with the chief of police. we're at the staging area here, which is city hall. one of the only few structures in this community that has not been obliterated as a result of the tornado. he described it striking about 6:00 last night, coming a swath a half-mile wide right through the middle of the city. they know they have six people confirmed dead, however, he believed that the death toll will go considerably higher. they have nine search and recovery teams out in the affected neighborhoods. they have five more teams staging and getting ready to head out. he says people are still trapped in their homes, and that they are being freed all the time. we have already witnessed that there are bodies still to be recovered out in the area that has been hardest-hit. this is a town of about 10,000 people, so they're taking it extremely hard. the damage is quite striking. i will have to say this. you know, everybody here measures it back to the big storms they had in '98, an f-5
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that came near through this same neighborhood here. people say this one is even worse than that one, which is hard to imagine. i covered that back in '98 and that was pretty awful. as you look in the neighborhoods now, it's equally as bad. the real judgment comes from the national weather service. carol. >> does alabama have enough help, martin? >> reporter: you know, help is coming in. of course with a tornado it's not like a hurricane in the sense you have massive areas. you have intense areas of tremendous devastation, but it is limited. that means that you have a lot of communities nearby is that have begun pouring in all sorts of people to assist. the nearby fire departments, police departments. we were out last night at 2:00 in the morning and we stumbled across u.s. marshals, they have showed up and atf has shown up. anybody who can render aid automat automatically shows up and they continue to do so now. >> martin savidge, many thanks
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reporting live from alabama. we're following a lot of developments in the next hour. let's check in with reynolds wolf. he's in tuscaloosa, alabama. >> reporter: right now the number of dead in tuscaloosa is at 36. as the hours move forward, we expect that number to rise. today people are returning to their homes and friking to look ahead. we'll have the story coming up. i'm zain verjee in london. the royal wedding is just under 24 hours away, and someone got uninvited to it. we'll tell you who and why. thanks to both of you. also ahead we sift through some of the birther fallout now that the president has released his certificate. joining us live is james carville and dana loesh. an ingredient that works more naturally with your colon than stimulant laxatives, for effective relief of constipation without cramps.
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we're continuing our coverage of the storms that killed more than 200 people in six states now. we want to bring in the fema administrator to talk about his agency's response. thanks for joining us this morni morning.
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>> sgood morning. >> give us a sense of damage and the most recent death toll that you know. >> well, yeah, we've been working with the states. alabama seems to be the hardest hit. we had loss of life in mississippi, impacts in georgia all the way up into virginia. they're comparing this outbreak to the 1974 super tornado outbreak. the amount of fatalities unfortunately is now being reported close to a little over 200, and search and rescue operations are still under way in alabama and some of the other areas. >> tell me about that. how many people has tefema sento alabama, and what exactly are they doing? >> right now, last night the governor requested assistance. president obama declared an emergency declaration. that allows us to send in direct federal assistance to the governor's team. we recognize as bad as this tornado is, a lot of the response is being done by local officials, mutual aid from surrounding communities as well as the governor has called out the national guard.
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our support has been to bring us more resources, and those numbers will go up. part of what we'll do today is looking at the actual damages. the governor is focused on the search and rescue, and he has a lot of resources in state to do those operations. >> once we move to a recovery phase, what kind of equipment could you send it to these states, alabama and georgia and virginia? >> well, right now, again, with the folks on search and rescue, as we do the assessments, we make determinations do they need additional things such as emergency supplies, generators, those types of equipment. we have those things ready to go. i think what we'll probably find is once we get through this life safety phase, a lot of what's done is debris clearance and that may be just more of us providing assist tonight state as far as getting debris picked up in these areas. >> will there be money available for people that have lost their homes? >> we're not sure about that
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yet. that's one of the things we're looking at. the governor has an additional request for the president, and that's part of the reason why the president has asked me to go down to meet with the governor and his team and look at things so we can move expeditiously on additional assistance if required. >> can you believe this tornado season? it's just outrageous. >> it's pointing out one of the things that you oftentimes think of oklahoma as the central u.s. as tornado alley. forget that the southeast has a tornado alley, and many people are comparing this to the out break in 1974 when over 300 people lost their lives. so yes, when you get big tornadoes and they are in particularly in dense, urban areas, it's unfortunately that damages can be very significant and unfortunately in this event loss of life. >> thanks for joining us this morning. we appreciate it. >> thank you. see
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seem. >> the news of the south gets worse. the tornadoes left 200 people dead in half a dozen states from mississippi to virginia, alabama took the brunt of it. at least 1350 peop0 people dead. homes and businesses standing 24 hours ago, they're just gone. parts of tuscaloosa are unrecognizable. the governor of alabama has declared a statewide state of emergency and mobilized hundreds of national guard to help storm victims. every survivor has a story. >> it was terrible. it all happened like in less than two minutes. two big old trees came down, and i rushed to my back bedroom and rest room. it was horrible. it throwed me on the floor. i couldn't get out door. both doors were opened, and i couldn't get to the door to get out. >> so tear tieing.
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reynolds wolf? tuscaloo tuscaloosa. i can't believe the widespread damage there. >> reporter: it is really breath-taking. you know it's amazing it if you step back 24 hours ago, people in tuscaloosa, alabama didn't have a care in the world. there was a chance of storms. skies were partly cloudy. high humidity. there was a risk of storms, possibly severe ones, but in terms of devastation we see like this apartment structure behind me or even what we see in the foreground, i don't think anyone would ever dream that things would have been quite this bad. i can tell you right now and speaking of bad, you hear the sound of the helicopter. that's part of the national weather service flying above to survey the damage. trust me, there's a lot of it. you see these trees filled with the degree bree and everything knocked over by the strong winds, some in excess of 200 miles per hour possibly. the idea is, carol, what is it possible like to experience something like that, to deal with a tornado of this size? james sykes is with you. you've been here for 41 years.
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can you take us back what things were like yesterday afternoon? >> yesterday they were calm, serene, everybody was running around, kids were playing. now for the lack of a better word deaf stavastating comes to mind. everything is in chaos, and it's really, really terrible and horrible around here right now. >> reporter: you were on this street just yesterday, weren't you? >> yes, sir. it was just like i said, so serene. there were kids playing, and there was a threat of a mild storm. never this. we never expected this. this is a total surprise. >> reporter: unbelievable. can you take us back to what you experienced yesterday afternoon. you had a phone call with your sister and you were exchanging information and there was a lot of panic and fear. >> right. no one expected it to be that big. we were translating between each other, and she was telling me the same thing. she was on one side of the town, and i was on this side of town. it was just that big. the storm was that wide. like i said, it was a complete
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surprise for everyone. >> reporter: you said it didn't make a great deal of noise. it was like a soundless monster? >> it was a silent monster. it was full of lightning, and it was just moving at a steady rate. it was just demolishing everything in its path and debris going everywhere. it's pretty sad. my heart goes out to the people who really got the devastating blunt of this thing. my heart goes out to them. it's very heart-felt. >> reporter: although millions hear about this problem, they see it it on tv, it's hard to comprehend what it can do to a community. what are you feeling? >> i think it's a two-part question there. what it does, it brings us closer to god, it brings us closer to each other to pull it back together from something as deft stating as this. >> thanks for your time. good luck to you. >> god bless you. >> reporter: that's a story people deal with is trying to recover. >> reynolds, before he leaves he said they got absolutely no
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warning. were there no tornado sirens that went off? i was just curious about that. >> reporter: we want to ask one more thing. we have heard this from a number of people in the community. did you have a warning? did you heard a tornado siren? >> yes, i did hear a tornado siren. when we hear that, you don't expect something that massive. i think that's what caught everybody off-guard. we thought it was another, you know, severe thunderstorm basically and a little outskirt tornado. that caught everybody off guard, it was so massive. >> reporter: when you saw it it, what was your first reaction? did you want to take cover immediately? shear shock, disbelief? >> fear. it was just that. it was intimidating to see something that big and massive moving. that was my initial thing, to find somewhere and take cover. >> reporter: were any of your loved ones, any of year families members injured or lose their life? >> i lost some friends to it. i had a buddy of mine that got
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killed in the storm, and like i said, i it. it took some life from one of my friends, took my friend's life, and also destroyed these people. these people don't have anything anyway, and it took what they did have. it's like a double-interest in this, you know. >> reporter: absolutely. thanks so much for your time. >> thank you. >> reporter: take care, take care. the number we have in tuscaloosa is about 36, 36 that have lost their lives. the problem we have is a lot of these buildings, a lot of structures behind us are still in horrible shape. there's the possibility of more people being trapped in some of the rubble. some of these teams in the coming days may go from a rescue mode to a recovery mode. that's also a possibility. easily one of the worst tornado outbreaks in history, certainly the worst that i know of in the state of alabama growing up here. again, the news may get worse as the hours go on. back to you in the studio. >> thank you, reynolds. we appreciate it.
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of course, the storm hit georgia. a lot of people here spent the night in their basements, but it was devastating here as well. it's a good thing they did that and they listened to the warnings from meteorologists and the tornado sirens that went off. at least 11 deaths have been reported in the state of georgia, most around the town of ring gold near the tennessee border. i'm sure rescue workers are out there this morning looking at the damage and trying to find out if there are more survivors to find. raphael romo joins us on the phone. what are you seeing? >> reporter: carol, as we make our way into the town of ringgold in northwestern georgia, it becomes very evident the amount of destruction that this area is going to have to recover from. it's just amazing. a lot of the roads trying to get here are blocked off. police are trying to reroute
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people. a lot of destruction just in the town of ringgold alone, seven people died. in neighboring floyd county two more people dead. earlier i spoke with tim romly in dade county, and he confirmed two more people dead. he was also telling me that he got reports of people seeing the tornado about half a mile wide just barreling through town and creating a tremendous amount of destruction. so so far, according to the governor of georgia, his office is reporting that 16 counties have been declared under a state of emergency. so the situation here is very, very bad, carol. >> rafael romo reporting live from northeast georgia. thank you so much.
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when i heard that nice man in alabama say he heard the sirens go off, but he didn't think the tornado would be that big and the damage wouldn't be that serious so he stayed in his home, it just hurts your heart. >> it really does. it's very heart-breaking. we've been talking about the potential for this major outbreak for days. there was a high risk issued by the storm prediction center yesterday. a tornado watch was issued well in advance of the storm, and there's probably a good 20 minutes warning before that tornado actually moved through tuscaloosa. we had video live streaming on the network as well as many of the local affiliates. so it's heart-breaking whether you see people that say they didn't get the warning and didn't feel prepared. you have to take that personal responsibility. about an hour from now we're going to go a segment at 11:00 about how to keep yourself safe and why it is we think so many died in this historic outbreak. there you can see all the tornadoes we had yesterday. more than 150 of them reporting. we probably think that this
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outbreak will be in the top five in terms of numbers of tornadoes. hopefully it it won't reach that benchmark for fatalities, but that number is over 200 now and it does continue to grow. here's what i want to show you radar. if you're at home watching radar, you can look for some of these signatures as well. this is what we call a hook echo. you can see this little bend right in here on a radar signature on a supercell thunderstorm. that hook tells me there's potentially rotation within this thunderstorm. now, this thing moved up to the north and east, and it tracked right towards the birmingham area. monica, if you could help me in advance. for some reason it's not playing on the wall here. it moves up towards birmingham and continues beyond that and goes into georgia where we had rafael. we're talking over 100 miles that this thing was on the ground and producing damage. to see it over a mile wide is amazing. this is a radar picture that we get from the weather service in birmingham, and this slice here
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will show us this bright color. that's debris. you can only see winds with radar if there's something in it, whether it's raindrops or debris. when you see that in that hook area, that's a debris ball. if you take a vertical slice of the atmosphere, that goes up 8,000 feet. it's just amazing. now, this storm is still out there, carol, and it is on the move. we have watches lined up up and down the east coast. now, what's going on in the upper atmosphere, the big tilt that we had yesterday that caused all the rotation, that's broadens out and it's weakening. we're not expecting as much rotation today. tornados are possible, but they'll be weaker and the not last as long. you still need to take it just as seriously. this yellow box here showing us a severe thunderstorm watch. take a look. we have possible tornadoes outside of the box. isolated tornadoes are possible in addition to damaging winds. this is a highly populated area,
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carol. we're talking new york city, philadelphia, d.c., baltimore and a lot of people in the path of these storms. >> so be careful and listen to those watches and take them seriously. oh, please, please, please. thank you. survivors of the southern tornadoes are telling their stories now. >> i was sitting in myrie kliner, and i could feel the house -- it felt like it was going to go. i thought we were going to take a ride. praise god, he sustained us, but it was scary. >> one expert says the south is getting hit harder than tornado alley. we'll talk to him about why coming up. 't know, something. [ mom ] something... ♪ mexican. [ female announcer ] thinking mexican tonight? hamburger helper has five festive flavors like crunchy taco. hamburger helper. one pound. one pan. one happy family. from "i like you." "i really like you." "i love you." "i will always love you."
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we're probably looking at a record month for tornadoes, and not in the traditional areas. places like texas and oklahoma and kansas. those areas called tornado alley where you see all the storm chasers go. one expert thinks we should start thinking mississippi and arkansas when we talk about tornadoes. his research shows parts of the south or dixie alley are getting hit harder than tornado alley, and based on the last 48 hours or so, it's hard to argue with him. meteorologist grady dixon of mississippi state university joins us now. welcome. >> thanks for having me. >> why has tornado alley shifted? >> well, i wouldn't say that it's shifted. the study that we published recently is based on data since 1950. it's not a new occurrence. we've always studied tornadoes in tornado alley, because they're easy to see and there are more tornadoes out there. the reason that our paper says the risk is greater in the southeast u.s. is because typically the tornadoes we have, as we saw yesterday, are on the
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ground longer. not necessarily in time, but certainly in distance. so they affect more areas and makes it more dangerous. >> you say the shift has taken place over a number of years. how many years, and why didn't we know this before? >> well, typically we've been trying to study tornadoes to understand how to predict them. that means counting them and figuring out where they occur. this paper was not about predicting but assessing risk. we've probably known this for years in some ways, we haven't publicized it unfortunately. it's not a shift. it's been happening for decades. >> the real danger for the people in the south like you said is tornadoes stay on the ground longer and seem to hit populated areas. there's a lot of empty ground in the traditional tornado alley, let's say. what do you make of the number of tornadoes this spring? >> the number is disturbing. it's really startling. if you look over the last several decades, the numbers of
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tornados have been going up. all the experts agree it has to do with increased technology and awareness, the fact that people know what to look for and have cameras in their hands. we don't miss many events. we record them. it's not a real increase but perceived because of capabilities. the number of days and events has not gone up. this month the numbers aren't as scary as the intensity. >> why would the intensity be more intense than in previous years? >> well, you mentioned 1974, the outbreak earlier. it's not a long-term trend. we haven't had, you know, many strong outbreaks that people remember like this. there are some consistent patterns, some climate logical patterns. you hear about el nino being adriva driver but it's fading away. if you compare this year to previous years with similar
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climate setups, some historic years pop out like 1999, 1974, 2008 was not as intense but a large number of tornadoes. it's not completely surprising, but it's never comforting either. >> you got that right. it's been awful. grady dixon, thank you for joining us and explaining things to us. we appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. >> we'll have much more on the storm damage, the damage the tornadoes left behind when we come back. [ female announcer ] the healing power of touch just got more powerful. introducing precise pain relieving heat patch. it blocks pain signals for deep relief precisely where you need it most. precise. only from the makers of tylenol. which are one of a kind. the authentic, the rare, the hard to define. to those who'd climb mountains or sail across seas
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we're following breaking news about what could be a historic tornado outbreak. the death toll still climbing. we learned at least 30 people have been killed in tennessee. that puts the total number of deaths across the south well above 200. a university of alabama student videoed a tornado that hit tusk loose ka. why weren't you running for cover? instead you grabbed your camera? >> i was watching the news channel that had a good stream going. a tower cam from one of the downtown buildings, had a radar going at the same time. i could tell it it wasn't going to come where i was at. i was near a stairwell in case
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it made a turn i could dive down in the stairwell and run to the basement. fortunately it stayed south. >> you're a lot braver than i would have been. what were you seeing as you looked at this thing again? >> just complete destruction. it was amazing and sad at the same time. like i said, i got the video shot, and you can see a locality of debris. actually i saw the storm what looked to be touched down initially to the west and keep moving towards the east appearing to follow 15th street. >> you could actually see it like sucking up homes and cars and things into that windtunnel? >> i couldn't actually see specific debris like cars or homes, but you could see what appeared to be plenty of shingles, insulation, that type of debris flying about through the air. >> we understand that 36 people are dead in tuscaloosa, and we're hearing some students may have been injured.
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what are you hearing? >> i know there's a lot of deaths, sadly. i think the count is at 15 now. plenty of injuries admitted to the local hospital. as far as people that i know being injured, i know a few people that lost their homes and cars. thankfully no one that i know was injured, but just thoughts and prayers going out to the ones that were injured. >> michael woods, thanks again. expect much more on this breaking story throughout the hour and all morning long. we have crews all over the region as thousands wake up this morning with a first look at all the damage. stay with cnn for the latest on these deadly storms. now let's turn our attention overseas. syria's bloody crackdown on the anti-government movement is drawing a rebuke from the royal couple. prince william and kate middleton have withdrawn their wedding invitation to syria's diplomatic corps. how did this unfold? >> reporter: you know, there's been a lot of controversy over
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the past few days and spats back and forth between the political establishment going, you know what? why is it that tony blair, the prime minister formerly of this country and gordon brown aren't invited, but yet the syrian ambassador to the uk has been invited? this was gathering steam for the last 48 hours or so. so the foreign office a short while ago issued this statement. what they said is because of attacks against civilians by syrian security forces, the syrian ambassador going to the royal wedding would be unacceptable and that he should not attend. it goes on to say, buckingham palace shares the view of the foreign office that it is not considered appropriate for the syrian ambassador to attend the wedding. so don't come, we don't want you is the message loud and clear there. just so you know, carol, it is actually protocol that all members of the diplomatic corps are invited for a function like this. this is unprecedented that he just got ejected last minute. >> i was going to ask you that.
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we've seen similar crackdowns in libya and yemen. what about from those countries? >> exactly. we called and asked about this. one of the things that the foreign office said was that everyone we have normal relations with officially can be invited. the libyan ambassador was not invited because they don't have normal relations with libya anymore. but the yemeni ambassador has been inviting and we understand he'll attend and bahrainy prince was invited and he decided on his own not to show up. i think there are quite a few sighs of relief here. >> zain reporting live from london. thank you. it's less than 24 hours until whilliam and catherine become husband and wife. cat always brings buzz and excitement wherever she goes. you've been in royal wedding overdrive this week, but are you
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still excited about tomorrow? >> reporter: absolutely. it's now literally riched fever pitch in london. there were over 8,000 journalists back there covering the event. dozens of people are sleeping on the route. these ladies are from canada. there's 1,900 guests that have that last minute panic, do i look all right? should i change any outfit? everybody is into it now. nobody can wait. >> i can understand. so as we get closer to tomorrow, it seems like some royal secrets are slipping out. what can you share? >> reporter: yeah. to be honest, everything has been such a closely guarded secret there hasn't been that many leaks at all. we heard today that ellen golden will play at the party after the wedding and possibly jay-z and beyonce. nothing is confirmed yet. those are the rumors we're hearing. we're waiting to see what happens on the day. we still don't know what the
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dress is she's going to wear, and we're dying to see that kiss on the balcony. people are saying about a hand or a cheek, but we want a full-on smacker on the lips, don't we? >> absolutely. that's what i want to see as well. it's history in the making. you don't want to be the only one that missed it. cnn, we can do international news better than anyone else, so please join us at 4:00 a.m. eastern, and if you can't wake up that early, set your dvr. that's what those things are for. be part of the global viewing part. checking news cross country now. in blacksburg, virginia, virginia tech is appealing a $55,000 fine imposed by the government. the education department said the university failed to provide a timely warning about a shooter on the loose in 2007.
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33 people were killed. the university argues it's unfairly accountable for standards adopted after the shooting. in michigan help arrived just in time for a dog stuck in a river clinging to a dox. the pitd bull mix may have been in the water for more than a day before firefighters showed up and pulled the dog to safety. a potential juror in the rod blagojevich trial gets her wish. she wanted to be dismissed because she had tickets to oprah winfrey's last shows, and she didn't want to miss it. joo the other good news for her is she doesn't have to be in this trial, and i have to tell you, i kind of envy that. >> i'm sure he'd rather be at oprah, too. the form earer illinois governo faces a retile. for a simple introduction, it said a lot. >> my name's barack obama.
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i was born in hawaii. >> president obama gets some mileage out of the big birther bombshell. we'll get insight from james carville and commentator and tea party supporter dane anyway losch. building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible. yup, but they're going fast. impressive. mm-hum. oh, i really like the tiguan. it is a top safety pick. let's take it for a test drive. ok. ok...maybe that one. ♪ oh geez.
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across the southern united states. more than 200 are dead in six states. alabama is the hardest-hit with 130 people confirmed dead. this afternoon president obama announces the largest reshaping of his national security team since taking office. leon panetta will be nominated at the next defense secretary. general petraeus is the choice to replace panetta as kre ia director. nasa is preparing for the laund launch of "endeavour." after the surprise decision to release his eofficial birth certificate, president obama stepped up to the podium to explain. he poked fun at the controversy, and then he poked fun at the press for how it covered the issues. at some points he got a little ang angry, but his mood was lighter later at a fund riser in new york city. >> my name is barack obama.
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i was born in hawaii. the 50th state of the united states. >> president obama's decision to finally release that piece of paper surprised critics and allies alike on both sides reaction was swift. joining us is dana losch and james carville. welcome to you both. >> good morning. >> both of you, dana, james, i interviewed the chairman of the republican party a short time ago, and he talked about the birther issue and how he felt its time to move on. i want you to tloivenlisten to said? >> the primary voters will decide in iowa, new hampshire, and the rest of the country who they want to represent them on the republican ticket. it's not my job to play police officer with the candidates. it's up to the voters to play police officer.
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>> so dana, what i was asking mr. prebus, i asked him why he didn't call on donald trump to stop talking about the birther issue and move on, if he really wants like every politic to move on from this issue. should he do that? >> i don't know that he could actually stop trump from trauking about whatever trung wants to talk about. it's donald trump. in the press conference that he gave immediately following the president's press conference was in my estimation his victory lap. i don't think you could have the rnc chairman call donald trump and say can you maybe not talk about this anymore? can we move on to something else? i don't think it would be successful. >> james, what do you think? >> not this guy, but think of the speaker of the house who knows better saying, well, as far as i know he was born in america. they asked him will you tout these birther bills. he said that's not my job.
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that's why you have a leader and whip. they're all there trying to fool around with this idiot. this is the most idiotic issue i've seen in american politics. it was a crock of nonsense. i don't think the president should have done what he did yesterday. let these people make fools of themselves. >> dana, back to you. will we move on from this issue? will everybody shut up about it? >> you know, yesterday whether the long form birth certificate was released we saw the high unemployment solved, the high gas prices solved and the quagmire in libya was resolved as well, except not. hopefully. >> hopefully. j james, why do you think he should produce his original bitt birth certificate? >> why should he. hawaii requires that and rele e released that and people could see it. it's nonsense. let these people make fools of
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themselves. it's good for the country to see how many idiots there are out there. it's a good way to conduct a idiot census in america to see who all the birthers are. it was a good thing and working politically for him because all of the republicans that knew anything were trying to run away from this thing, and they couldn't get rid of it. i find trump to be very entertaining. i'm kind of for him. he was for palin, but she didn't want to talk nenough. i want more trump. we ought to have him on tv every day. >> dana, some say all this talk about birther and now president obama should produce thiz college records that this kind of talk is hurting the republican brand. is it? >> well, i have to say, carol, that i think the biggest loser in all of this was philip berg. he was the democrat and aide to hillary clinton at that started it. i don't know so much it's a strictly republican brand.
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>> nobody shls that, frankly. nobody remembers that. all we think about now is donald trump and the republican party. >> there's a lot of people doing hard work making sure people don't remember that. i will say this. some of the stuff i've seen that has been proposed, i think the birther bill in arizona where they added you have it to have your baptismal certificate and everything. i've been baptized. i don't know one. i wouldn't be able to produce one. sometimes i think it goes a little bit too far. what this does is highlights there's a double standard between how investigated bush was and previous presidents have been and how people didn't go after the president with his records. i think if anything it shows the double standard. >> james, do you agree with that? i know we did -- >> no. by the way, you know, if you want to run in arizona you have to produce a baptismal
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certificate? it is a very good way for us to take a census of all of the idiots in the united states and let them surface. i think it should have gone on. it was hillary's campaign that found the announcements in the hawaii paper, so that pretty would debunk all of that foolishness. again, trump, he's the republican front-runner, and he's perfect for them. he's overweight and self-indulge he not and simpleton and he embodies the principles of the modern republican party. >> a short last word to that. >> you can be a simp-- you can' a simpleton to be as successful he is in business. i disagree with him on the birth certificate issue, but i won't call him an issue. >> he's also been bankrupt four times. he's just like the republicans. >> not personally. only his businesses. >> we'll have to continue this offline. thank you for the conversation this morning.
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let's talk about the weather once more. deadly tornadoes rake across six states, but some of the most hellish scenes of destruction are out of alabama this morning. we'll talk to a mayor who says his city now looks like it was hit by a bomb. [ male announcer ] this is lara. her morning begins with arthritis pain. that's a coffee and two pills. the afternoon tour begins with more pain and more pills. the evening guests arrive. back to sore knees. back to more pills. the day is done but hang on... her doctor recommended aleve. just 2 pills can keep arthritis pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is lara who chose 2 aleve and fewer pills for a day free of pain. and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels. and fewer pills for a day free of pain. curtis: welcome back to geico it's savings, on the radio. gecko: and the next caller is doug from chico.
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alabama hit so hard by deadly weather. over to the weather center right now and check in with jackie. we'll talk to mayor william bell from pleasant grove, alabama in a bit. alabama so hard-hit by these storms. >> very devastating. this google earth will show you focuses on northern parts of alabama. all the red dots are the reported touchdowns. it was likely one cell that moved through tuscaloosa and birmingham and into northern georgia. so many people killed by that storm as well. a lot of people wanting to help, carol., there's a link on here if you'd like to donate and help the victims. >> that's terrific. thanks for sharing that, jacqui
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jeras. welcome, mayor. >> i'm from birmingham, alabama. thank you. >> i'm so sorry. you're from birmingham. it was hit hard by these storms. you experienced these storms yourself in your home i'm sure, and you had to go out and tour the damage. as you were doing that this morning, what went through your mind? >> total devastation. people have been impacted buy i don't understand beleaf. when you look at the areas that have been struck by the tornadoes like a war zone. that's not the only area that we had hit. we had some straight line winds that did damage all throughout the city of birmingham, and we're mobilized all of our emergency services to address the issues that are out there. we also have -- i'm sorry. >> how extensive is the damage? are whole neighborhoods gone? >> yes. where houses one stood in a very densely populated area, it has
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been completely wiped out. we have a number of people missing. only one confirmed fatality within the city of birmingham, but we have between 15 to 20 people who are missing. we're bringing search dogs in to help us with going from house to house, location to location. >> do you need help from other places, or do you have enough? >> we have all of our emergency personnel out, but we're looking forward to the governor promised to send up national guard, and they will help us in securing the area as well our search and rescue process. >> i'm sure you've lived in birmingham a long time? >> all my life. >> did you think you would experience something like that? >> about 12 or 13 years ago we had a tornado come through here that we thought was a big tornado, but it doesn't compare to what happened to us this time around. >> i just can't even imagine. i'm looking at some of these
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pictures, and you're right. whole buildings are just gone, torn from their foundations, and then you look at even the larger buildings damaged. we're talking all kinds of structures, not just homes, right? >> right. church churches, businesses. there's one church that cost between $20 million that's completely gone. you have locations where businesses stood. there's nothing there but the foundation. >> we talked to the fema administrator and asked him if there would money available for people that have lost their homes. do you think there ought to be? >> yes. i've been given assurances by our federal representatives that they have talked with the white house, and in the declaration of the state of emergency there will be funds provided. we don't know what mechanism it will come from, but we're prepared to assist the victims in whatever way we can. >> we'll let you get back to work, mayor. thank you for joining us. mayor william bell from birmingham, alabama. the death it toll is up to 202
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people across six states, alabama, as you know, was one of the hardest-hit. more than 130 people killed in that state alone. we're going to have much more on the storms when we come back. stay with us. building up our wireless network all across america. we're adding new cell sites... increasing network capacity, and investing billions of dollars to improve your wireless network experience. from a single phone call to the most advanced data download, we're covering more people in more places than ever before in an effort to give you the best network possible. at&t. rethink possible. we're all striving for it. purina cat chow helps you nurture it in your cat with a full family of excellent nutrition
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the message delivered with heart-felt hugs for the two american airmen rescued last month in eastern libya.
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now more than a month later, the air force is identifying major kenneth harny and captain tyler stark that had to eject from the f-15 fighter jets as they supported the no-fly zone. >> when you find yourself alone and you're isolated in a country where there's hostiles, you are scared. is that back door open? i see a group of young, marine con units jump out, and that was probably the best feeling i've ever felt in my entire life. >> the air force is still trying to figure out why the jet crashed, but they're confident it was not shot down by enemy fi fire. in michigan help arrives just in time for a dog stuck in the river cliniciging to a log. in arizona dozens of students stormed a room and chained themselves to chairs at a board meeting of the school district in tucson. it would take ethnic study
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courses out of the curriculum and make them electives. they fear this could kill the whole program. check out this colorful mosaic called surfing madonna. it's attracting a lot of attention in california. it was mysteriously installed on an overpass wall just before easter. the city council called it griff graffiti and want it to go. art lovers want it to say. martin savidge is near birmingham, alabama. he'll show you some of the damage there. we'll be back venlt. ooh, a brainteaser. how can expedia now save me even more on my hotel?
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state of emergency declared in alabama. it's really bad there, as it is in much of the southern united states right now. we'll go to pleasant grove, alabama, a suburb of birmingham where martin savidge is. i just talked to the mayor of birmingham, martin, and he says it looks like a bomb went off there. >> reporter: i'm not even sure that really describes it. it's beyond bombs. it's beyond war zone. it's really beyond words when you get into the heart of the path of this twister or the many twisters that came through the state of alabama last night. a couple of personal stories here. we were in here since darkness, and we were here at first light.
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i bumped into bill dutton walking down the street. sometimes you measure the devastation by the look on people's faces, and bill certainly had it. i asked how he was, and he was fine but he was looking for his mother-in-law. his mother-in-law ha talked to his wife the last evening, and she was going to hide in the closet in the center of her home. bill dutton showed up shortly after the storm had cleared. the entire home was gone. it was down to the cement slab. he had come looking for his mother-in-law. he he tried all night and couldn't find it. a short couple hours later we ran into bill again. he asked if we knew where the coroner was because he had found his mother-in-law. she was in her 70s, and she was not in her home. she was some distance away. there are a lot of stories repeated like that today, carol. a lot of heart break in alabama. >> that's just so sad. i know that most homes there don't have base mentbasements, could she have gone for safety other than that closet?
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>> reporter: even those who would do what you would say the right thing, which is to get into a basement if you had one, there were people killed even in their basement. this was a storm that sought them out sxhuand hunted it down one rescuer put it notice. the damage was so severe in many cases houses were lifted into the air and dropped onto the basement. that's what they found. they found people crushed or trapped in their basements and most often they haven't found them alive. this shows sometimes there are storms no matter what you try to do. >> i know the mayor told me that he's gotten reports of maybe a couple of dozen people still missing, but it's possible that number could go much higher, right? >> reporter: it is. when i talked to the police chief here, robert knight, in pleasantville, he expects it to go considerably higher. there were some neighborhoods we went to, and people were very fearful of their neighbors and we checked back and they were
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accounted for. maybe if we keep our fingers crossed, that will be the circumstance. a lot of these folks that are feared dead managed somehow to get away and survive. one woman told us she fled her home because her weather radio didn't work. she was cursing that radio and went to her sister's house. that was the smart thing she did because her house is completely gone. the radio by not working saved her life. >> it's unbelievable. you just never know. martin savidge, many thanks. i know you have work to do out there. we'll let you go and say more than a few prayers for the people of alabama and other states hit hard by those monster storms. here's a look ahead at some stories we're keeping our eyes on on later today. this morning at 11:00 eastern the first lady hosts the take or daughters and sons to workday for the children of white house staffers. shortly after 3:00 eastern time, the president is set to announce changes to his national security team. later today timothy geithner is in the motor city talking jobs with the detroit economic club.
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after visiting new hampshire, donald trump veechis reaching out to republicans in nevada. our politicalticker is next.
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the snapshot discount. new, huge, and only from progressive. and having a partner like northern trust -- one of the nation's largest wealth managers -- makes all the difference. our goals-based investment strategies are tailored to your needs and overseen by experts who seek to maximize opportunities while minimizing risk. after all, you don't climb a mountain just to sit at the top. you lookround for other mountains to climb. ♪ expertise matters. find it at northern trust. donald trump may not be an ofisht white house candidate, but it seems like he's on the campaign trail. paul is following his travel. fill us in, paul. >> reporter: vegas, baby. donald trump will be in
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las vegas later today. he's meeting with republican women's group. nevada is an important state, it's an early state. thirdcalendar, but yesterday he was in new hampshire. it's not all business for trump. of course, he's out there for his good friend steve winn getting married. there you go. of course, as you heard yesterday with his interview with john king in new hampshire, donald trump says he will decide by june if he'll run for the republican presidential nomination. let's talk about president barack obama. some new poll numbers in pennsylvania may be troubling for him. he's at an all-time low in pennsylvania. pennsylvania is a crucial battleground state. he won it in 2008. i'm sure he'd like to carry it again next year. gas prices may weigh in on all of this. polls change and people change their minds. the election is a year and a half from now. back to you. >> we keep forgetting that. we'll have your next political update in an hour.


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